BYOD allows employees the ability to bring their own devices, as the name implies — like smart phones, tablets and laptops – while using the company’s network instead of a company-provided device.
BYOD strategies create a great many benefits, and risks, that each organization’s IT department needs to consider.
Increased productivity – The use of technology at work has increased significantly over the past few years as using paper and manual processes continue to decrease. In education, for example, schools have increasingly taken to using technology in the classroom by providing students with tablets and computers. Recent research has shown that this type of learning allows students to be more interactive and engaged in the learning process. In business, the use of technology has increased because of green practices and organizations realizing that by positioning themselves as environmentally friendly they are saving money and generating external support of their efforts. Though technology increases overall productivity, research also shows that employees are even more productive if the device they use is their own.
Lower cost to the company – Though the use of technology is a benefit to employers as it without a doubt makes employees more productive, the cost to companies that purchase a large number of computers or tablets is a tremendous financial commitment. Most of the technology used by organizations is only current and up to date for a certain, limited period of time and then becomes obsolete and in need of replacement. By allowing employees to bring, and use, their own devices, they can always have up-to-date technology without the company constantly incurring the costs for new models. For many, this practice has been extremely beneficial as many budgets are being cut and organizations are forced to trim spending.
BYOD shift costs from the company to the user and allows employees to use their own devices. BYOD policies also allow employees to use the technology that they are comfortable with and that they prefer, rather than what the company dictates they them. Users also may upgrade their devices to the newest features more frequently than what the company can afford to budget for on an ongoing basis.
Support of many different devices – Though there are many benefits to allowing BYOD, there are several risks that concern the IT staff. First of all, since it is not one standard device that everyone is using, the IT department will need to support many different types of devices and operating systems. This makes it very difficult to mitigate an issue with a device when the user needs assistance.
No control over what is on device – Organizations have no control over what types of applications are put on the device, which makes it very difficult to enforce security. Though employees probably would not download games or other entertainment applications on their work computer, in the case of BYOD, since the device is their own and also used for pleasure, they will certainly download numerous types of personal applications on the device.
Security risks – BYOD increases the risk of having a security breach of important data. When an employee leaves the company, they do not have to give back the device, so company applications and other data may still be present on their device. This can lead to some company data being unsecure. There are also certain compliance regulations that businesses have to follow, such as HIPPA or GLBA, which are difficult to enforce when a device is not owned by the company.
Infrastructure issues – Different types of devices operate at different speeds and with different operating systems. This can be difficult for an IT department to set up and maintain infrastructure to support different device needs. Also, if employees are able to bring their own devices, there will be many more devices used than what would be if the company was providing them. Employees might bring all of their phones, tablets and computers to work, meaning there will be much more strain on the company’s Wi-Fi and network.
Microsoft Intune is a cloud-based service in the enterprise mobility management (EMM) space. It helps enable your workforce to be productive while keeping your corporate data protected. With Intune, you can:
– Manage the mobile devices your workforce uses to access company data.
– Manage the mobile apps your workforce uses.
– Protect your company information by helping to control the way your workforce accesses and shares it.
– Ensure devices and apps are compliant with company security requirements.